Natural Frequency Demo Video

Commentary courtesy of Honey, 2006 Thoroughbred. Translation: she said "Please don't push us fast forward. We'll do it for you but it can really mess us up."

Natural Cadence is the expression used in place of Natural Frequency in the context of locomotion.  Natural Frequency is the rate at which a system will tend to oscillate without external forces acting on it. The horse is a system with a natural frequency. In the video, the system is the bucket with a bag of grass seeds suspended by a spring from a screen door.  It’s a simple mass spring system that will nicely illustrate the phenomenon of natural frequency. The frequency remains the same at any amplitude of motion. This is not necessarily an intuitive concept. Most people, when asked to predict the behavior of the system at various amplitudes, will predict that it goes faster as the amplitude gets smaller. Nope. Cool, huh? How does it apply to horses? The natural cadence is the rhythm at which the horse is most efficient. It is the rhythm that most benefits the musculoskeletal system by providing healthy repetitive forces needed to strengthen bone and tissue with the caveat that the limb and spinal column kinematics are correct.